collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
And here are the last three parts of the series I wrote for The Brick's blog.

A big thanks to Jeff Lewonczyk for editing these things for over at that blog, and all at The Brick for their assistance in making these shows happen.

Part 5: On HARRY IN LOVE )

Part 6: On HARRY, Some More )

Part 7: Postscript )

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Now that the three shows are over, for those who didn't bother to click over and read the seven pieces I wrote about them, Berit, and myself at The Brick's blog, B(rick)log, to promote the shows through that outlet, I might as well reprint the whole series here for your dining and dancing pleasure..

Some of them are pretty long, so I'll put them each behind their own cut, and you can look at them as you please and at your leisure.

Here's the first four - an intro to the company, and pieces about Everything Must Go and Spell:




Part 4: On SPELL )

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Final post in connection with the three August shows is up at The Brick's blog, B(rick)log.

The post itself is HERE.

Primarily, as mentioned in the previous post here, about influences, and containing several videos from Frank Zappa, Ernie Kovacs, and Negativland, and a mention of Harvey Kurtzman.

Don't play ball.

collisionwork: (spaghetti cat)
The last two nights have contained the penultimate show of Everything Must Go and the antepenultimate show of Spell. Tonight, the penultimate Harry in Love.

(I was friends with a Classics teacher at Northfield Mount Hermon - I never studied Greek or Latin but I was interested in it and we had interesting "language" talks - who was VERY firm, correctly, on the proper use of "penultimate," and the word and its variants have been stuck in my head, to be used far too often, ever since)

Nice houses, in both size and reaction, mostly. Spell is a hard show to get right on both sides of the text - performers and audience - and if you imagine, as I do, the actual "work," what the play is, what we're striving to accomplish, the connection, the communication, as an abstracted straight line with arrows at either end hanging in the air between stage and house, essentially connecting work and auditors, then Wednesday's Spell was a bit more as if that line broke apart and forked off into multiple smaller lines with arrows at the ends of them shooting off at stage and house - some hitting the performers and perceivers, some shooting off around them into walls, ceiling, and everywhere else.

The more I do this, the more it all boils down into purely technical things - the internal, "emotional" stuff will take care of itself, the text will take care of itself, if the rhythm and cadences, pace, focus, diction, projection, intensity, blocking, and light are all given the proper attention.

(and, yes, there's been some snippiness recently from playwrights - appropriately - on some blogs recently about directors using the word "text" when they mean "play," but I often do use "texts" rather than "plays" - not sure what the difference is exactly, but I know it when I see it - Spell and Harry in Love are "plays," EMG and the NECROPOLIS shows are "texts")

Especially focus. Everything else is almost a subset of that. I joke about it in Everything Must Go, but it's all about focus, focus, focus. Too many distractions going on too much of the time these days. Not enough focus. I'm getting old and crotchety here.

(hell, I always was - once I was at breakfast in my boarding school dorm, and the aforementioned Classics teacher, Scot Hicks - who of course had to have been in his mid-20s or so at this time - came in to the cafeteria, saw me, sat down at the table with a big grin on his face, and announced, "Ian, I've figured out what you are! You're a CURMUDGEON!" - I was 17 and I guess it's only gotten worse . . .)

In any case, Harry tonight. I am completely at a point of looking forward to the shows themselves, but dreading everything I have to do around them. I SO don't want to go and put up the Harry set, but . . . well, you gotta do what you gotta do.

I really need to figure out a proper photo call for each show, too.

Meanwhile, this morning, what does the iPod come up with as the first Random Ten from 26,103 tracks?

1. "Come On Down Maryann" - Ohio Express - Bubblegum Classics Vol. 5
2. "When the Record Goes Around" - The Playmates - Playmates Golden Classics
3. "Little Palaces" - Elvis Costello & The Costello Show - King of America
4. "Reject" - Green Day - Nimrod
5. "Watcha Gonna Do?" - The Evil - The Montells/The Evil LP
6. "Fingertips (banjo)" - They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18
7. "It's a Monsters' Holiday" - Buck Owens - (It's a) Monsters' Holiday
8. "Heart of Gold" - Johnny Cash - Unearthed
9. "Johnny Lee's Mood" - John Lee Hooker - Alternative Boogie 1948-1952
10. "Freak Trim (Kim Outs a Big Idea) - The Mothers of Invention - the MOFO project/object

Oh, hey, I got some new cat photos, too - most just from the last half hour, though Berit took this one a few days ago . . .
Moni Hug on Couch

I went around trying to get a good photo of Hooker this morning, but for once, he was pulling the Moni act and not holding still for a moment:
Fuzzy Hooker

And that's the best I could get. I went looking for Moni, figuring she'd be somewhere near the sleeping Berit, which she was, but it was hard to find her . . .
Moni and Berit's Foot

Hey, there she is, on the dirty clothes pile at the end of the bed, just above Berit's foot . . .
Moni on Dirty Clothes

Okay, off to finish the other blog post and get over to The Brick early so I can get the place set up and then actually relax for a while so I'm ready to do the show . . .

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
Here's the final promo email which I just sent out to the GCW list.

Anyone out there want to be on the mailing list and isn't getting these? Let me know - some of you may be getting them bounced because a) they're sent by BCC; b) they're sent from AOL; c) both of the above.


You're getting this because you are on the GEMINI COLLISIONWORKS/Ian W. Hill/Berit Johnson email list - if you wish to be taken off it, please reply with REMOVE in the subject line.


Oh, and -- if you've seen any of these plays, or plan to, please be aware that all three are registered with


and 25% of the judging for the awards is based on audience reaction. If you've seen the shows (or once you have seen them) PLEASE go to the site listed above to register and vote for our shows!





SPELL - postcard front


a play by Ian W. Hill

" . . . like a wall-sized Brueghel painting, a sight to contemplate."
- Ellen Wernecke, EDGE


Wednesday, August 20 at 8.00 pm
Saturday, August 23 at 4.00 pm
Sunday, August 24 at 8.00 pm

The story of a woman in trouble. Locked inside a cell (which might, or might as well, be her mind), an American woman who has committed a horrible, murderous act for what she considers patriotic reasons, but which she can only vaguely remember, is interrogated by military and medical figures as the voices in her head try to defend or attack her. A meditation on - among other things - whether violence can ever be justified, and if so, what limits are there?

with Olivia Baseman *, Fred Backus, Gavin Starr Kendall, Samantha Mason, Iracel Rivero, Alyssa Simon*, Moira Stone*, Liz Toft, Jeanie Tse, Rasmus Max Wirth, and Rasha Zamamiri.

EVERYTHING MUST GO - postcard front

Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2)

a play in dance and speeches by Ian W. Hill


Thursday, August 21 at 8.00 pm
Saturday, August 23 at 8.00 pm

A play in dance and fragmented businesspeak. A day in the life of 11 people working in an advertising agency as they toil on a major new automobile account, interspersed with backbiting, backstabbing, coffee breaks, office romances, motivational lectures, afternoon slumps, and a Mephistophelian boss who has his eye on a beautiful female Faust of an intern. The day is comprised of endless awful business jargon interspersed with outbreaks of the musical-theatre inner life of the characters to a bizarre mix of musical styles and artists from the 1920s to the present

performed and choreographed by Gyda Arber, David Arthur Bachrach*, Becky Byers, Patrick Cann, Maggie Cino, Tory Dube, Sarah Malinda Engelke*, Ian W. Hill, Dina Rose*, Ariana Seigel, and Julia Sun.

HARRY IN LOVE - postcard front

Harry in Love
A Manic Vaudeville

a comedy by Richard Foreman
"In terms of skill and command, Hill and his company are in peak form here. I'm not sure that you'll ever see a Foreman play so successfully and accessibly mounted outside the Ontological Theatre."
- Martin Denton,


Friday, August 22 at 7.30 pm
Sunday, August 24 at 4.00 pm

Harry Rosenfeld is a big, neurotic, unnerved and unnerving man who believes his wife, Hild a, is planning to cheat on him (and he seems to be right). His response: drug her coffee and keep her knocked out until her paramour goes away. The plan works about as well as should be expected and, over several days, a number of people – the paramour, a doctor, Hilda’s brother, and an "innocent” bystander - are sucked into Harry's manic, snowballing energy as it becomes an eventual avalanche of (hysterically funny) psychosis. Who wrote this crazed farce? Well, before he became known as the writer-director-designer of his groundbreaking and legendary abstract stage spectacles, Richard Foreman was seen as a promising playwright in a more, shall we say, traditional mode, writing “normal” plays with standard structures, characters, settings, and events, unlike those that he was to become known for from 1968 onward.

with Walter Brandes*, Josephine Cashman*, Ian W. Hill, Tom Reid, Ken Simon*, and Darius Stone*.



designed and directed by Ian W. Hill
assisted by Berit Johnson

The Brick
575 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn 11211
½ a block from the Lorimer stop of the L Train / Metropolitan-Grand stop of the G Train

All tickets $15.00

Tickets available at the door
or through
(212-352-3101 or toll-free: 1-866-811-4111)
Want to see all three shows for the price of two? Preorder them here:

* Appears Courtesy of Actors Equity Association


hope to see you at the shows, and thanks for your continued support,

Ian W. Hill, arts
Berit Johnson, crafts
Gemini CollisionWorks

Gemini CollisionWorks is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of Gemini CollisionWorks may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.


Ian W. Hill/Gemini CollisionWorks online:


collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
My third entry on The Brick's blog, B(rick)log, concerning some of the inspirations and connections for and between Spell and Everything Must Go, is up, HERE.

Among the influences discussed:

Richard Hamilton - Today's Homes
John Heartfield - Butter

Today, rest. Three more performances of Spell, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday; two more of Everything Must Go, Thursday and Saturday; and two more of Harry in Love, Friday and Sunday.

SPELL - Ann & The Janes

Moira Stone, Fred Backus, and Alyssa Simon in Spell, from the tech booth, a couple of performances ago.

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
So, as part of promoting the shows, I'm writing some pieces about them over at The Brick's appropriately-named blog, B(rick)log.

The first piece is up, a rather long text piece (it has been suggested in future, correctly, that I break these things up with some pictures) about the origins, creations, and meaning of Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2).

You can find that specific post HERE.

That is all. Come see the shows if you haven't yet.

EVERYTHING MUST GO - postcard front
EVERYTHING MUST GO - postcard reverse

Five more performances of Everything Must Go.

Four more performances of Harry in Love.

Three more performances of Spell.

collisionwork: (Great Director)
Really good shows of Everything Must Go on Wednesday and Harry in Love last night. Not the most sizable houses for either, but large enough to feel good performing to, and both of them very responsive in all the right ways. Fun and rewarding.

We had the AC off during Harry for the first time last night, and while I have absolutely no way of proving if the sonic reduction affected things for the better or not (we got more laughs, certainly, than ever before but it could have simply been a friendlier house), I know it made my own performance subtler, more shaded, and more responsive to the vibes I felt coming off of the audience, and I felt like I was able to "play" them better. Fun.

Spell is off for this entire weekend (I miss it), so, as I may have mentioned, we're alternating EMG and Harry, which is a strain, as they're both physically demanding shows on me.

When I planned doing these three shows, I was only going to be acting in Harry, but then someone dropped out of EMG and rather than look to strangers in recasting, which I am always far too nervous about, and having no one else I knew appropriate for the part, I took it on myself. Not smart. I'm doing it okay, but I wish I was only acting in one show. I tried to diet and exercise to be more ready for doing both, but, unlike Hamlet last year, where I got it together pretty much as I wanted, I wasn't as ready as I'd hoped for these two. I can pull it off, but I suffer more the rest of the days when I'm not doing it.

Ah, well, just have to keep myself together, at least through this weekend - the next two days I'm looking at doing BOTH shows each day, matinee and evening, plus having to deal with striking and setting up the sets. Oy. Won't be doing anything like this again.

Spell got a nice little notice from Ellen Wernecke online at Edge, which was rewarding to see. Mixed to positive, really, without much in the way of pull quotes, except for this one, which may be my favorite one I've ever got:

" . . . Spell is, like a wall-sized Brueghel painting, a sight to contemplate."

We should be getting another notice for Spell, but really late in the run. I think we've got all we're going to for Harry. No apparent interest in Everything Must Go critically, unfortunately. Damn.

This morning, as I type this, here's the first Random Ten that comes from the 26,103 tracks on the iPod:

1. "You're Everything to Me" - The Orchids - A Taste of Doo Wop Vol.1
2. "Tiny Sick Tears" - Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Volume 4
3. "Damn Good Times" - They Might Be Giants - The Spine
4. "So Come On" - Les Fleur De Lys - Jimmy's Back Pages...The Early Years
5. "She's Looking Good" - Rodger Collins - Soulin' Vol 3
6. "At Night" - The Killjoys - Raw Records - The Punk Singles Collection
7. "Homesick" - Homesick James & Johnny Shines - Chicago Slide Guitar Masters From Tampa Red To Elmore James
8. "Little Boxes" - Teenage Head - Teenage Head
9. "Is Anyone Out There?" - Altered States - Return of the Batcave volume 2
10. "California Dreamin'" - The Mamas & The Papas - Rock Archives - 60's, 70's, 80's

Sorry I have no new cat photos; I can't seem to get the camera and the cable that connects it to the computer in the same place at the same time.

Okay, more paperwork to deal with. Back to it . . .

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
So, Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville and Spell have opened and had two shows each. The third Gemini CollisionWorks show for the month of August opens the day after tomorrow. Actually tomorrow, now as I write this.

The postcards are on the way, and will be at The Brick late tomorrow or early the next day.

Here's the card and the promo announcement:

EVERYTHING MUST GO - postcard front
EVERYTHING MUST GO - postcard reverse

Opening TOMORROW, August 6 -
the third and final in the trio of August 2008 productions
from Gemini CollisionWorks at The Brick:

The Brick Theater, Inc.
a Gemini CollisionWorks production of

Everything Must Go

a new play in dance and speeches

created by Ian W. Hill
assisted by Berit Johnson

A play in dance and fragmented businesspeak. A day in the life of 11 people working in an advertising agency as they toil on a major new automobile account, interspersed with backbiting, backstabbing, coffee breaks, office romances, motivational lectures, afternoon slumps, and a Mephistophelian boss who has his eye on a beautiful female Faust of an intern.

The day is comprised of endless awful business jargon interspersed with outbreaks of the musical-theatre inner life of the characters to a bizarre mix of musical styles and artists from the 1920s to the present.

Everything Must Go - subtitled (Invisible Republic #2) - is a constantly shifting dance-theatre piece in which anything that matters must have a price, anyone is corruptible, and everything must go.

Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2)
is performed and choreographed by
Gyda Arber, David Arthur Bachrach*, Becky Byers, Patrick Cann,
Maggie Cino, Tory Dube, Sarah Engelke*, Ian W. Hill,
Dina Rose*, Ariana Seigel, and Julia Sun.

The Brick
575 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn 11211
½ a block from the Lorimer stop of the L Train
or Metropolitan-Grand stop of the G Train

August 6, 9, 13, 15, 16, 21, and 23 at 8.00 pm
August 17 at 4.00 pm

approximately 95 minutes with no intermission

All tickets $15.00

Tickets available at the door or through
(212-352-3101 or toll-free: 1-866-811-4111)

*appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association


Aug. 3rd, 2008 09:40 am
collisionwork: (sleep)
I'm here, and so's Berit. The first weekend of our crazy August schedule is almost over. Spell and Harry in Love have opened. Harry, as mentioned, had a rocky first show but went well last night. Spell had a damned good first show and goes up again tonight.

This afternoon, and the following two afternoons and evenings, we get Everything Must Go ready to open on Wednesday. Then we're running, and it's just about maintenance and (hopefully) enjoying ourselves.

Learned a lot from this. Mainly about what I can't do anymore. The shows are fine, but I can't take doing this like I did back at NADA ten years ago. Especially with actually creating two of the shows I'm doing at the same time. A more coordinated plan of attack will be developed for next year. Two shows in August, probably - one extant script, one original - and also probably no Summer Festival show at The Brick. B & I will just deal with running the space for the Festival, and getting our August shows together. Maybe other director gigs here and there for others if asked, but . . . hmmn. Just two GCW productions in a year? Seems sparse.

No. Maybe it's just reasonable.

So when this is over, it's time for us to manage the tech for the 3rd Annual International Clown Theater Festival for a month, then we have to hang for a couple of weeks to deal with the October Penny Dreadful tech, then we get to go up to Maine for a few weeks and pull ourselves together, surf the zeitgeist, and consider what we should be doing for next year. Nice time to be in New England.

So, here we are. I'm about to wake B up to go off to The Brick to strike the Harry set and work EMG, but first, behind the cut, recent videos I've enjoyed . . .

Muppets (shilling coffee and rapping), a cat & a fan, and the Electric Six )

And off we go. Enjoy.

collisionwork: (lost highway)
I know I'm started off with this before, but . . .

I am tired, I am weary, I could sleep for a thousand years . . .

Except, apparently, I can't. As, even with an alarm set to get me up at 8.00 am (6 1/2 hours sleep), my body decided that 6.00 am and 4.5 hours was enough. Why, I don't know. My brain does not agree. Neither does my upset stomach.

So, here I am, drinking microwaved leftover coffee from yesterday - massively over-sweetened with Splenda to make up for the lack of milk, as the carton in the fridge has turned (which accounts for the leftover coffee from yesterday, when I discovered the spoilage after two or three sips) - and wishing my body had let me have those extra two hours.

The shows proceed and take up almost every moment of our waking hours (sorry for no communication, family & friends).

We're behind in some things and on top of others. Generally ahead of where we've been on most of our shows this past two years at this point, but more behind in other ways.

I'm still writing Everything Must Go for chrissakes, which opens in two weeks (of course, I also just finished writing Spell two days ago which opens in a week and a day). Most of what is supposed to be my writing time has been taken up with jobs I wasn't supposed to have to do, like recasting difficult roles at the last minute. I had five full days of show work ruined in the casting search for someone to take over a role in Spell. After my last note on the subject, I got someone, who came in, did great, took the part, came to one rehearsal, and also (like the original actor) got another (well-paying) job, he says. This really didn't help anything.

However, we finally got someone - Rasmus Max Wirth, and thanks again Max - and he joined us last night and we did a stumble-run of Act I of Spell that made me very very happy indeed. Yes, "Act I" - what was supposed to be a one-act of 90 minutes has become two acts, about 50 and 45 minutes, respectively, with an intermission - the cast really pushed for this, over my objections, but after a really good way to end "Act I" appeared in rehearsal the other night I was sold. So this is my first original two-act play. I like it. I was unsure for a day or two there if I was happy with the play itself, but after the last couple of runs I'm happy.

The first full one on Monday showed me where I had to cut and rewrite things (big discussion with the cast afterward about what works for them and what doesn't - some of the "doesn't" being things that were wonky as a viewer and which I have changed, and some of them being things that were terrific from the house and I just have to get that across to the company).

Last night's half-run made me a lot more confident in my work - Berit and I were sneaking pleased glances through a lot of it at each other. We'll see how Act II fares tonight.

Everything Must Go need to have its "book" finished, but the musical numbers are all coming into shape nicely. Two nights ago I tackled one of the "harder" numbers and it came together much differently (and better) than I imagined. Sunday we have a long rehearsal by which time we'll have the full script (I swear) and can finish the whole damn show - then we actually have some extra time to put the thing together, comparatively.

Harry in Love hasn't been touched in days and was fine when I left it. Tomorrow we do a full runthrough. Everyone else has been pretty much off-book. I am now 90% there, so I'm taking the whole of tomorrow, daytime, to get 100%. I'd like to be writing, but that will have to wait until the evening.

Today is to be taken up with a drive out to the warehouse of Materials for the Arts in Long Island City, and Berit and I grabbing whatever we may find that will serve us for the shows, so we don't have to buy or build EVERYTHING. Of course, the weather is crappy (though better now than when I awoke), so loading and unloading lots of stuff from there and at The Brick will be FUN. Then I meet an actress from Everything Must Go to catch her up on the choreography she missed from missing a few rehearsals. Then more Spell tonight.

Update interlude over. Back to writing. More tomorrow with pictures and random iPod ten . . .

collisionwork: (Great Director)
Three days just went by, all with rehearsals for Everything Must Go, so we were mainly taking care of creating the dance numbers, which I'm doing with more confidence these days.

At the same time, I'm doing it with more aches and pains than I used to have, so it can be frustrating. Years of injuries and bad treatment have left my knees and ankles a mess, so now that I'm 40, I'm finally beginning to work on being better to them, and more healthy in general (yeah, turning 40 and feeling crappy put a fear into me, so while I haven't exactly gone all health nut, I'm eating less, watching what I eat, stretching before I have to move, and trying to move more).

But I was able to work well enough this week, working in the new people to the created dances some more, and creating more numbers. We have 10 done out of 18, so maybe I can get the rest done at the next two rehearsals - some are difficult and some simple, so it'll probably take through the next three, up to our next "big" rehearsal the weekend after this immediate one. Ah, well, it'll work out.

An annoying day ahead, I figure. I have writing to do, and would like to just sit back and do it, but I have three or four appointments that will take me away from it for more time than I'd, and will take more time in travel than for the appointments themselves, probably.

I have to go to a printers and have a transparency made of the preamble of the Constitution to use in the photo shoot for the postcard for Spell (we could just put the image from the laptop through The Brick's video projector for basically the same effect, but I think a transparency on the overhead projector would look better and give us more control of the projected image and how we can distort it).

I have a phone interview with The Brooklyn Paper about the shows and myself (a "profile and preview" piece). Did a brief one yesterday with the always-interested Tom Murrin of PAPER for their online site - mostly about Harry in Love. Tried to sound interesting and say true things about the show that will sell it. Will try to do the same today.

Then I have to go to The Brick to audition a replacement for the actor I lost from Spell, which I hope works out (I have a good feeling, and I trust my instincts). I was glad that three other actors, who couldn't do the show due to previous conflicts, at least would have wanted to if they could (another two were more politely dismissive). Two of them read the script and were very very nice about it, which made me happy - as I wrote to one of them, "I was worried it would just seem like the work of a lunatic;" and he wrote back "It DOES seem like the work of a lunatic, and that's the highest praise I could give!" The other who couldn't do it just loved the concept as I described it, which is praise enough, as it's a hard concept to get across and not sound really confused. So, great on that.

Then, I'm supposed to do the postcard shoot with Moira Stone at The Brick, so I have to hang around there for a few hours after the audition waiting to do that when I should be writing (I could bring the laptop and write, but . . . I've found I don't work so great that way). I could work on my lines for Harry in Love, I suppose.

And I have to go pay The Costume Collection for the two costume pieces from Ambersons that actually got lost, dammit - a cap and a blouse. There were SO many pieces that it's not surprising, but I would think I could find them, as they couldn't be anywhere but The Brick and my car . . .

(later, after writing the above, I decided to put off the last two things - easy to do in the first case, not really something I should do in the second but I have to work - until tomorrow and next week, respectively)

Meanwhile, I would just like some damned time away from having to do all this stuff AROUND the shows I'm making so I can, you know, FINISH WRITING them, considering Spell opens two weeks from tonight and Everything Must Go opens the Wednesday after that.

Hello, Art Life. You're not what I expected.

And while I'm here, shuttling between writing this and writing the two scripts (also open on the desk top, so I can flit around from place to place as the inspiration strikes me), here's what comes out of the 26,089 tracks on the iPod:

1. "Bank Vault in Heaven" - Richard Thompson - You? Me? Us? (voltage enhanced)
2. "The Incredible Truth" - Foreign Bodies - Datapanik in the Year Zero: Terminal Drive
3. "Mystery Roach" - Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - 200 Motels
4. "Sign on the Window" - Melanie - The Songs of Bob Dylan, Vol. 2: May Your Song Always Be Sung
5. "Juke Joint Honey" - Leo Gosnell & Smokey Mountain Drifters - Honkin' Billy
6. "The Right Time" - Ray Charles - Atlantic Rhythm & Blues vol 4 1957-1961
7. "Heartbeat" - King Crimson - Beat
8. "Farmer John" - Steve & The Board - Before Birdmen Flew - Australian Beat, R&B & Punk: 1965-1967 Vol. 3
9. "KLIF, Dallas - Beatles Kit Contest, 1965 aircheck" - radio promo - Psychedelic Promos & Radio Spots, vol. 7
10. "Mater Dolores" - El Vez - Boxing With God

And here's the best shots I could get of the kitties this morning . . .

Moni won't hold still for a picture, almost ever, but she will lick Mama's fingers:
Moni Likes Fingers

Hooker rests, his eye still a bit squinty from whatever caused his eyelid to swell up:
Still Slightly Squinty

And, from earlier this week, as a result of Hooker having to go to the vet, and having to get goo put in his eye twice a day, he gets a little "reward" in the form of The Best Thing In The World As Far As Cats Are Concerned, the GOOSHY FOOD:
Gooshy Food #1

Which means that Moni, the healthy little brat, always gets a treat whenever Hooker gets one of his not-infrequent health problems (we sometimes joke that she's doing things to injure Hooker because it means she'll get The Gooshy Food):
Gooshy Food #2

Yum, yum, huh? {gag}

Okay, back to writing about Terrorism and Advertising . . .

collisionwork: (chiller)
Damn, but I'm tired, and there's work to do.

Though writing work is not as difficult as some when tired.

This weekend, rehearsing and writing, writing and rehearsing. Shows look good. We did a runthrough of Harry in Love on Saturday that was damned good. Three of the six of us in the cast are off-book and only rarely needed prompts. Another was off-book for all but one scene, and the other two (which included me) seem to know most of the lines but still need the script as a security blanket. Rhythms good. Show ran 2 hours 17 minutes including 10-minute intermission. I think 5-8 minutes will come off that (some of the company think more will, but we're actually already pretty well bookin', even with some of us still looking at scripts).

Worked two scenes from Harry again yesterday, and got them to a really great manic level. We all felt really good about them when we were finished, kinda looking around for a moment after the run of the last scene like, "Damn, we did that RIGHT." It was interesting, because we actually weren't as precise as we need to be, but we got to a level of energy and character and rhythm that was dead on. So, we now need the precision of lines (in particular) on top of that.

Spell also continues. Still behind in script (on that and Everything Must Go), but there was enough to work in rehearsal yesterday (including working in new cast member Samantha Mason). Next rehearsal for Spell is Friday and I expect to have the full script done before that (two weeks before we open, nice way to cut it close, Hill). Tomorrow, back to Everything Must Go after a bit off (with the way the casts' schedules are working this month, that's how it goes - three or four days mainly on one show and then it goes away for a week or so).

Spell looking good, but some of what I planned didn't work and I had to come up with okay solutions. I like the show, but it's definitely not the show I had in my head while writing, and writing gets harder as I try to figure out if I'm writing the show that was in my head or the show that's appearing in rehearsals now (which is better, I think, but hard to get a grip on). Also, we've lost another cast member, and one even harder to recast due to specialized abilities and qualities needed. We're workin' on it.

So, I have to get back to the writing of the shows now, but first, a bit of fun - I have a backlog of stuff to share. Here's some album covers from LP Cover Lover that I dug:

A Black Man Speaks from the Ghetto

Long Island Sound Polka

Pye Demo Disc

And inside the cut, NINE recent found videos of amusement for your dining and dancing pleasure:

Read more... )



Jul. 9th, 2008 09:10 am
collisionwork: (swinging)
The three shows proceed.

Harry in Love is rehearsing very smoothly, which is to be expected for this already fully-written, cut, cast well, traditional comedy. The biggest hangup I've had was when I had to go over an incredibly tiny moment over and over last night - it's a gag I love and the timing needed to be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for it to work at all.

The structure of the moment is that two people are yelling at each other heatedly and a third suddenly comes out with a pertinent but unexpected piece of information - there needs to be a brief beat of silence, and then the other three people in the room look at the person who's suddenly spoken up. So the brief beat and the look have to be timed just right, and, even more importantly, fall together with one "bump" like a period, to make the laugh work. It was getting the bump right - if anyone's movement trailed off rather than just fell into place, the moment didn't work, and it took a while to get everyone on the same page with the movement - if Ken Simon (the person I'm yelling with in the scene) made a double gesture (arm, then head) it didn't work (arm and head together worked); if Tom Reid, the person interrupting us, moved his head around, looking at us, during the beat and look to him, it didn't work.

So about 10 or 12 minutes were spent on this tiny moment, which seems like a lot, but then 10 minutes of play can go by in rehearsal without me needing to fix anything, so it all works out - there's a very specific rhythm to the play, a comic give and take that resembles, at various points, the timing of Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, Edgar Kennedy with Harpo & Chico Marx in Duck Soup, and Zero Mostel & Gene Wilder in the second scene of The Producers. So when we all get the groove going and get that rhythm, the play really takes care of itself. But we have to get that groove, which gets easier and easier the more we do it.

Spell and Everything Must Go are okay except I need to finish the scripts, dammit, which is proving much harder than expected. I keep saying that, and then I have a day where everything just COMES to me on one script or the other, for one scene or another, and I think, "Now I'm on a ROLL!" And then I finish that bit and the next one . . . doesn't happen. I have a schedule of pages set for myself now which, if I can stick to it, will have Spell done before this coming Sunday's rehearsal and EMG before next Tuesday's. I have some new pieces of Spell for tonight, luckily, but not as much as I'd like.

I also had to recast a role in each show (besides the recent addition of Tory to EMG), so Samantha Mason is now in Spell and Sarah Engelke is now in EMG, which are good additions to the groups.

Spell looks good and I feel good about it, as long as I can keep the writing at the same quality I've had. Still, it's a bigger work than I imagined - I guess wider is the more appropriate term; it's about more than I thought, and as comments/thoughts come in from this very smart and thoughtful cast, I have to deal with the issues that are raised, which is daunting and the writing problem at this point. And I've been putting off the six hardest scenes for last (out of 32 scenes in the play), hoping I can get a better intellectual grip on the material I have to deal with before setting them down (in brief, Cuba, Palestine, the Peoples' Republic of China).

I think there's a good reason I've never dealt with serious political material in my work before except on the very metaphoric level. In the past I've always said of political art that generally that I wasn't fond of it because generally it meant that either the politics or the art suffered from being combined with the other. And I'd rather see great art with shallow politics than the other way around (there is SO much lousy art whose politics I agree with, but that is SO annoying - I hate hearing something like my own point-of-view being espoused by Bad Art). It has been this current Administration of the USA that has made me feel I had to say SOMETHING about this country in my work (leading to World Gone Wrong, That's What We're Here For, and the staging of my versions of Hamlet and Foreman's Symphony of Rats).

So . . . {sigh} . . . maybe the trick is to just let go of the idea of dealing with some of this in Spell at the level I've been getting to in my head. Just letting the Art go where it needs to and use the material within it, not force the play to take in more than it wants to.

Everything Must Go doesn't worry me as much as it did briefly. I had a momentary loss-of-faith in my abilities for this one, but got over it. Great rehearsal the other night, in which two dance sequences came together - one to "Slug" by Passengers, the other to "Handsome Man" by Barbara Pittman. Really nice, and I'm VERY happy with them. I think I got to the point of figuring out how to work with the dancers of the company and choreograph in collaboration with them, and use their varied abilities and styles.

Unfortunately, during the rehearsal at Champions Studios, big clumsy me, working with my shoes off, kicked a radiator nice and hard, resulting in my right little toe turning several rather spectacular shades of purple - which has continued for two days now, with pain that comes and goes in odd ways (sometimes just the toe hurts if I put pressure on it, sometimes that's fine but it hurts if I curl it, sometimes there's no specific pain in the toe but the whole front of the foot aches).

In this cut, a picture of my toe as it was last night - I'd generally not hide this, but maybe some people don't want to see my injured, mottled toe . . .

Maybe I'll Do a Photo a Day and Show the Progress . . . )

In the other world, the great film collagist and eccentric Bruce Conner has died at the age of 74. I was going to link to a whole bunch of videos of his work, but the fine fine superfine folks at Movie City Indie have already handled that better than I could, doing two wonderful posts about Conner HERE and HERE.

Excellent postings, those, and the first contains eight of Conner's films embedded in it, including his landmark A Movie (1958) and his videos for Byrne & Eno's "America Is Waiting" and Devo's "Mongoloid" - and a surprising collaboration with Toni Basil (or "Antonia Christina Basilotta" as she's credited here), "Breakaway," which features original footage of Basil dancing (most of Conner's work is made up of found footage) that gets into some NSFW territory (oh, just saw it's from 1966! so this was immediately post-Village of the Giants and pre-Head for Basil . . .).

Worth watching, all those films - though I can't say I've gotten through all of them yet myself. And here's A Movie inside a cut, as I'd like to have this handy and give you a taste of Conner's work, right here and now . . .

A MOVIE by Bruce Conner )

Now I have to get back to not only my writing of the shows, but getting out the next section of press releases for them, which takes time as well. I also have to deal today with finishing up some business with The Costume Collection and separate matters with Fractured Atlas. And Berit and I need to have a proper sit-down about the postcard designs for the three shows and making up prop/set/costume/sound/special lights/projection lists of what we will need for each show.

Just a couple of weeks of GETTING STUFF DONE every waking moment, and it'll all be fine . . .

collisionwork: (prisoner)
Between now and August 3rd, Berit and I have only two days without a rehearsal, tech, or performance of one of our three shows opening July 31-August 2. Today is one, the other is the day after tomorrow.

We are SO going to collapse on August 4 and 5.

Well, this is as it had to be. Right now, I'm taking a break from redoing (and fretting over redoing) the rehearsal schedule for all three shows another time. I had to redo things the other night, and thought I'd got something workable, but I didn't have all the conflicts in, and now that I have more (but not all) of those, the new schedule's as bad as the old one. So back to work.

I also have to get in more work on the script for Everything Must Go today, which is waiting until I finish the sched. I got on a real roll with it yesterday, but had to quit to print up what little I had and actually get to rehearsal for the show. I got to hear three pages of dialogue spoken, and it sounds good, so I'm continuing in the same vein. Amy Liszka, who had to leave the show, found her own replacement, Tory Dube, who came in and took over excellently yesterday. We staged and worked the opening and closing scenes - the entrance and exit of the cast from the office - and got them as solid as they can be right now.

I was a hair chagrined by Tory's recounting of Amy telling her about working with me - which was similar to what I've occasionally heard from other actors auditioning for me who have friends who have worked on my shows - which was along the lines of "X said that it was a lot of fun, but kind of bizarre, and sometimes unnerving and weird, and you don't know where it's going and don't think it'll work, but just trust in Ian and do what he wants and it'll all turn out great." This always makes me want to say, "Well, you know, I do sometimes fuck up," but that's just NOT the right approach to take when meeting a new actor (or around your regular ones, for that matter). I'm glad I engender trust, at least. I think I've earned it.

So today is for schedule and EMG, Friday is for Spell writing. Tomorrow, another rehearsal for Harry In Love - the only rehearsal where I'm sure of the show, date, time, and place right now . . .

Elsewhere in the online world . . .

Episode 6 of Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful, "The Earth Shook, The Sky Burned," directed by Michael Gardner and featuring my performance as George Westinghouse, is now online, along with all the previous episodes of Season One. Catch up with all of them at the Penny Dreadful site HERE. The page for this specific episode is HERE, and the video came out quite nicely on this one.

Courtesy of [ profile] flyswatter, an update from the world of toys I wouldn't normally know about - specifically about the Playmobil line of figures, which I never had as a kid, but for years thought I did -- I've been confusing them with the Fisher-Price "Play Family" line, also known as "Little People;" I had plenty of those classic stubby little figures that fit into holes in their vehicles or playsets, as well as some of those sets, the airplane, the garage, the airport, etc. Loved those, and while they've been updated to charmless unrecognizability (the ones from my childhood were too easy for stupid kids to choke on, apparently, like so many cool vanished toys), at least they haven't gone with the new topical route that Playmobil has.

For Playmobil has decided to add some new little items to their line to help children get used to the USA that we now live in, These are the Playmobil Police Checkpoint and the Playmobil Security Checkpoint. Nice.

Oh, and hey if those aren't educational enough, you could also get Little Rusty his very own Scan-It Operation Checkpoint Toy X-Ray!

The few comments on each of these at those Amazon links are also worth reading . . .

Back to work . . .

collisionwork: (goya)
Work continues on the three August shows, at different levels and paces and amounts of stress.

Harry In Love: A Manic Vaudeville is staged and we did a book-in-hand (mostly, some people are nicely off-book for bits and pieces already) stumble-thru and fix-thru that went well enough to show we're in good shape. There is much work to be done, but we have the time to do that work, easily. It's going to be a serious laff-riot, really.

Spell is proceeding well, though I need to write faster on it - the text is coming, but not as I'd like (speedwise, I mean, I've wound up very happy and even surprised with what's come out for this one). The cast is good, though still incomplete - we lost an actress, as I mentioned, and the one I asked to replace her hasn't returned my contact, so I'll move on to asking another. Thank goodness the cast on this show is so cheery to work with - the show itself is pretty bleak and uncomfortable (yeah, I'm great at talking up my own shows - "Bleak and Uncomfortable!" - now that's an ad line for ya . . .).

Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2) has had more time off than I'd like, but there were cast conflicts with other shows, and marriages, and so forth. There is a lot to do on this one and not enough time scheduled - I need to find more time to dedicate to this show. Also, I'm behind in the writing on this one too - which is a surprise, as this is the kind of language that normally comes naturally and easily to me (as it did on what is now Invisible Republic #1, That's What We're Here For (an american pageant)). Next rehearsal for this one is tomorrow, and I have to have more text and choreography ready for that, so today is the writing day (mostly for EMG, I hope, and some for Spell), and tomorrow I'll schlep over to The Brick as early as I can and start really getting the choreography down.

I'm still getting over my shyness in choreographing dance on other peoples' bodies; That's What We're Here For was a big step for me, but there I had the one "real" dance for (and by) Maggie Cino and me, and the rest were mainly stylistic pastiches, and worked out a lot with the cast, while this one is mostly me doing actual personal, non-parodic work, with better dancers than I am. Nerve-wracking.

Last night was the end of The Brick's The Film Festival: A Theater Festival (except for some extensions of really good shows that you should all go and see), and we had the closing-night ceremonies and awards ceremonies. This is the second year of this post-fest party, which is on its way to being a tradition, as awards ranging from the semi-serious to outright ridiculous are given, with every piece in the fest winning at least one award (the Special Olympics of Indie Theatre, if you will), with a focus on in-jokes funny (maybe) only to festival participants, or more usually to about 10 regular members of The Brick crowd. Bottomless amounts of alcoholic beverages are served. Lisa Levy, lovely in a gorgeous dress, forces everyone entering the theatre to be interviewed as if on the red carpet as a camera broadcasts the uncomfortable results on the gigantic screen inside. Jeff Lewonczyk, "America's Funnyman," hosts and everyone groans at what he thinks is funny, as Lawrence Krauser tickles the ivories beautifully, giving an inappropriate air of an actual planned show to the whole evening. Private grievances are aired, friends and reputations are insulted, Audrey Crabtree presents awards as a character both disturbing and endearing (supposedly the "special" 13-year-old love child of one of the Brick artistic directors), I stumble around imitating a drunken Orson Welles, technical matters go awry. And it all ends in chaos. Then we drink some more. I blast some Motown over the PA. And some of the theatre-film geeks (me, Lewonczyk, Danny Bowes, James Comtois, and others) play trivia games for way too long. A good evening all around.

Last night, for the second year in a row, I received the award for "Most Misunderstood" show. In a vaguely-drunken, vaguely-Wellesian tone I pointed out that while Ian W. Hill's Hamlet was definitely misunderstood, especially by the critics - and I flinched a bit when I realized that one of the critics I was talking about was sitting right in front of me, oh well - there was no good reason why such a straightforward show as Ambersons should be misunderstood, but that the Backstage critic had managed to do it anyway. I promised to continue to aim to receive that same award EVERY year from now on in the Brick summer festivals (and I shall, oh yes, I SHALL).

Later, to my surprise, the "Ian W. Hill Lifetime Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement" was given to my old Nada coeval Mr. Art Wallace. 40 years old now and I gots me a lifetime achievement award named for me . . . {sigh}

Oh, and there was another great party the evening before at the McKleinfeld's where grasshoppers were consumed (the drink, that is), many things were grilled and deep-fried (deep-fried Oreos! deep-fried Hershey bars!), and a lot of Rock Band was played. I now need a rest from this intensive relaxation schedule.

So, other things found online for your dining and dancing pleasure . . .

Three images from the always-wonderful Modern Mechanix site, the first announcing a new breakthrough in air travel:
Flying Whirligig Is Newest Aircraft

A theme which continues with this important question:
Will Autogiro Banish Present Plane?

Which leads to a sinister second question . . .
What About Those . . . Secret Weapons?

Anyone who knows me probably knows of my David Bowie fanaticism. Well, if you're like me, and I know I am, there's an article that will interest you more than it probably should in The Daily Mail online: He's made up and is releasing a comp of 12 of his own favorite songs of his - not exactly hits that would have shown up on the Changesbowie collections - and he's written liner notes about each song which the Mail has printed HERE. For those interested, the songs are "Life On Mars," "Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise)," "The Bewlay Brothers," "Lady Grinning Soul," "Win," "Some Are," "Teenage Wildlife," "Repetition," "Fantastic Voyage," "Loving The Alien," "Time Will Crawl," and "Hang On To Yourself (live in Santa Monica)."

Now I have to go make a playlist of those and see what it's like, though I'm both pleased and pissed to discover that Bowie, happy with the songs on the underrated Never Let Ne Down but, correctly, unhappy with the 80s-era production/arrangement, has gone in and rerecorded instruments and rearranged and remixed "Time Will Crawl." The song, a favorite of mine, deserves it. Now, of course, I have to buy the whole damned thing for the one track (unless I can just find the track online).

(huh . . . and of course I discover to my surprise that I don't even HAVE four of those tracks in my iTunes, as I was sure I would . . . damn)

We now have some waterfalls in NYC - to be precise, we have Olafur Eliasson's The New York City Waterfalls - four towers in the area of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges cycling out East River water in a continuous fall all day and some of the night (technically, as has been noted, a fountain, actually). There has been an air of disappointment from some quarters about how they turned out - they looked great in the computer renderings, but most of the time, from most angles, they look . . . pretty pathetic. And I've been a bit pissed off about the fact that traffic on a stretch of the BQE under the Brooklyn Heights (which I generally drive at least twice a day) has become completely slowed, if not even jammed, during waterfall operation due to the slow-down of people taking a gander at the damned one that's right there next to the road, which looks terrible from that angle anyway.

(side note - I nearly went back and fixed this, but what the hell - I have, as a result of reading too many "period" books about earlier centuries in NYC, taken to referring to that area with a now-dropped article, as "THE Brooklyn Heights" - such as "The British are massing on the Brooklyn Heights to attack Washington's troops," or "I have to drive under the Brooklyn Heights twice a damn day," or "Fuck, I wish I could afford a townhouse in the Brooklyn Heights" - I've decided to just go with this and not give a damn anymore; luckily my brief habit, gained the same way, of calling the center of Manhattan "the central park" didn't stick the same way)

Anyway, held up again in traffic last night on my way home from the Brick, and seeing that one lit up after nightfall (and from a bad angle), I began to change my opinion. Jerry Saltz, at New York, HERE sums up pretty well what I think of them now, with a photo of the best of the falls at the best time and angle.

And finally, behind the cut, two of the better humor videos I've seen in a long time - commercials for the ersatz power-drink, POWERTHIRST!


Enjoy. I'm back to writing (I hope, rather than sitting at a computer screen unhappily staring and shaking nervously).

collisionwork: (GCW Seal)
This just went out to the GCW email list - figured it belonged here, too:


Friends of Gemini CollisionWorks,

2008 continues GCWs' happy residency at The Brick in Williamsburg, where we act as the theatre's technical directors, as well as assisting in the management of the many festivals at the space, and, of course, producing our own work.

Coming up for us this year at The Brick, a show in The Film Festival: A Theater Festival in June - The Magnificent Ambersons - and three shows in August - two originals: Spell and Everything Must Go, as well as Richard Foreman's hysterical and barely-known 1966 comedy Harry in Love.

So we've been able to keep up a pretty hectic pace of creating numerous shows each year, but it's been harder and harder as resources have been getting far more expensive rather quickly (especially rehearsal space) and while we've been known to work wonders on a low (or nearly non-existent) budget, as our work gets more ambitious, it gets harder to do this at the out-of-our-own-pocket level we've been working at for 11 years, especially as - with small theatres and low ticket prices on top of high expenses - we lose money on every show we do. As we have had no way to offer our supporters anything in return for donations, we haven't asked for them.

Until now. Gemini CollisionWorks is now a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts organization, and donations to GCW (made payable to Fractured Atlas) are now tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. For more information on contributing through Fractured Atlas, see or the directions below for how to donate specifically to us.

We hope you'll consider helping us out - our shows this year could use it (coming up soon in June, a show involving 20 actors with multiple 1880s-1910s costumes each! we need two overhead projectors!). We can't offer much in return, but it'll feel good, be worthwhile, the money'll all be there on the stage, and you get listed in our programs for the whole season (categories below). And it's tax-deductible.

Here is some more info on how to donate, and on this year's shows:


1. If you wish to donate by check, they MUST be made out to "Fractured Atlas," with "Gemini CollisionWorks" in the memo line (and nowhere else), and should be given to us personally or sent to us for processing at:

Gemini CollisionWorks
c/o Hill-Johnson
367 Avenue S #1B
Brooklyn, NY 11223

2. You can also donate directly online securely by credit card at

or by clicking this handy link:

Donate now!

(please double-check to be sure you're at the "Gemini CollisionWorks" donation page)

All donors will be listed in all our programs for the 2008 season under the following categories:

$0-25 - BONDO
$26-50 - RAT RODS
$51-75 - CHROME
$76-100 - LOW RIDERS
$101-250 - CANDY FLAKE
$251-500 - FLAME JOBS
$501-1000 - T-BUCKETS
$1001-2500 - SUPERCHARGERS
$2501-5000 - KUSTOMIZERS
over $5000 - BIG DADDIES


The Magnificent Ambersons by Orson Welles: A Reconstruction for the Stage

adapted, designed, directed and narrated by Ian W. Hill
June 1, 6, 10, 12 at 8.00 pm - $15.00

In 1942, Orson Welles' second feature film, and probable masterpiece, was mutilated by RKO Radio Pictures. 43 minutes were cut, and several scenes were reshot in an attempt to make Welles' dark, Chekhovian adaptation of Booth Tarkington's story of a family and town swallowed up in the Industrial Revolution a happier and more commercial experience. It didn't work. The film was buried by the studio, both in the marketplace and physically - all unused footage from the film was destroyed - and Welles' version is gone forever, one of the great mythologized films of Hollywood.

In this show we attempt to reconstruct, as well as we can from the documents and photos that still exist, a theatrical interpretation of Welles' cinematic take on Tarkington's novel. It's not the movie, but it's as close as you're ever likely to see.

with David Arthur Bachrach, Aaron Baker, Linda Blackstock, Walter Brandes, Rebecca Collins, Ivanna Cullinan, Sarah Malinda Engelke, Larry Floyd, Stephen Heskett, Justin R.G. Holcomb, Amy Lizska, Roger Nasser, Vince Phillip, Maire-Rose Pike, Shelley Ray, Timothy McCown Reynolds, Bill Weeden, Natalie Wilder, Scot Lee Williams

Harry in Love: A Manic Vaudeville
by Richard Foreman - directed by Ian W. Hill
9 performances - July 31-August 21 - $15.00

Harry Rosenfeld is a big, neurotic, unnerved and unnerving man who believes his wife is planning to cheat on him. His response: drug her and keep her knocked out until her paramour goes away. The plan works about as well as should be expected and, over several days, a number of people are sucked into Harry's manic, snowballing energy as it becomes an eventual avalanche of (hysterically funny) psychosis.

Before embarking on his great career directing his own groundbreaking avant-garde plays, Richard Foreman briefly entertained the possibility of being a commercial Broadway playwright. This 1966 boulevard comedy (which Foreman has compared accurately to the plays of Murray Schisgal) nearly made it to Broadway, which very well might have meant a very different career for Foreman. It's not what you probably know from him, but it's as funny as his best work, and any line from it, out of context, would not sound out of place in one of his later plays. Really.

with Walter Brandes, Josephine Cashman, Ian W. Hill, Tom Reid, Ken Simon, Darius Stone

written, designed, and directed by Ian W. Hill
9 performances - August 1-August 24 - $12.00

An American woman who considers herself a patriot has committed a horrible terrorist act as an act of protest and, she hopes, revolution against the government, which she believes no longer represents the law, people, and Constitution of the USA.

As she is interrogated, her mind reinterprets her surroundings into a chorus of voices - witches, revolutionaries, doctors, generals, bossmen, old boyfriends, fragments of herself - arguing over the validity of her violent actions while at the same time trying to deny that the monstrous act has ever occurred, or that she could be capable of such a thing. A meditation on - among other things - whether violence can ever be truly justified, and if so, what limits are there and where does it end?

with Fred Backus, Olivia Baseman, Jorge Cordova, Gavin Starr Kendall, Iracel Rivero, Alyssa Simon, Moira Stone, Liz Toft, Sammy Tunis, Jeanie Tse, Rasha Zamamiri

Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic 2)
text, design, direction and choreography by Ian W. Hill with the company
9 performances - August 2-August 24 - $12.00

A play in dance and fragmented businesspeak. A day in the life of an advertising agency as they work on a major new account, interspersed with backbiting, backstabbing, coffee breaks, office romances, motivational lectures, afternoon slumps, and a Mephistophelian boss who has his eye on a beautiful female Faust of an intern.

A constantly shifting dance-theatre piece in which anything that matters must have a price, anyone is corruptible, and everything must go.

with Gyda Arber, David Arthur Bachrach, Becky Byers, Patrick Cann, Maggie Cino, Ian W. Hill, Amy Lizska, Brandi Robinson, Dina Rose, Ariana Siegel, Julia C. Sun

All shows will be at

The Brick - 575 Metropolitan Avenue - Williamsburg, Brooklyn
right by the L Train stop at Lorimer - G Train stop at Metropolitan/Grand

Advance tickets for all shows will be available at - there will be special discounts for seeing two or three of the August shows. More info as it happens . . .

hope to see you at our shows, and thanks for your continued support,

Ian W. Hill, arts
Berit Johnson, crafts
Gemini CollisionWorks

Gemini CollisionWorks is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of Gemini CollisionWorks may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

collisionwork: (lost highway)
Back in Portland, ME for a few days, and the last of my dentistry work, I hope.

My bottom wisdom teeth were pulled four hours ago. One went easily and there is no real pain on that side at this point. One didn't want to go, required some unpleasant struggle ("Ooh, had a little hook there on the root, that was the problem" said the very skilled Dr. Killian D. MacCarthy), and, now that the novocaine has worn off, the empty socket on that side hurts like a sonovabitch. The lovely lovely vicodin I took earlier isn't having its normal excellent effects (or maybe it is, and without it I'd be screaming or something).

I went and had the work done - about 35 minutes in the chair, 25 minutes of which were filling out forms or waiting - got my prescription opiate and foodstuffs (soup, pudding, ice cream) at the Rite Aid and now I'm sitting back, waiting for a time when I can eat something and take more painkiller, and watching a rerun of the C.S.I. episode "Fur and Loathing" - the one about the furries . . . which has one of the single best music cues I've ever heard composed for episodic television - the only reason I'm watching this again is get to hear this cue - the rumpy-pumpy, sleazy-but-comic, circusy music that accompanies the "yiff pile" sequence is magnificent (okay, the scene just went by and the music isn't at all like I remembered . . . has it been altered in syndication from what's on the DVDs?).

So I'll be up here a couple more days recovering, watching the TV stuff I don't have at home, retweezing the rehearsal schedules for all my shows (many more conflicts have come in), and trying to write some substantial pieces of Spell and Everything Must Go, which I somewhat need to at this point to move those shows forward, though it'll be easier with EMG, as I've had three rehearsal/creation meetings for that one, and only one first meeting/inspiration session for Spell - which will also be a harder show to write, as I had thought it would originally just need a working knowledge of psychotic mental states (which I know something about) but has wound up requiring substantial research into the revolutions or conflicts of China, Cuba, Palestine, France, and pretty much any country that has gone through such an upheaval; the history of Pacifism; Kabbalah and Numerology; Feminism and The Male Gaze; and god knows what else will come up in creating this piece.

I'll post first draft pieces of the scripts as they appear.

I watched Cloverfield last night, which I expected to mostly like, and really loved it. I also watched Romance & Cigarettes, which I expected to really like, and didn't like it at all - fine actors doing excellent work in a badly-conceived and indifferently-executed . . . thing. Ugh.

Oh, and, courtesy of Bryan Enk, here's a picture of me as George Westinghouse in the season finale of Penny Dreadful:

PENNY DREADFUL - IWH as Westinghouse 2

It's now hours later from when I started this post - the painkillers are working, mostly. Time for ice cream . . .

collisionwork: (prisoner)
Last night's rehearsal went great. {phew}

I wound up with only four actors plus myself, but we set up the basic set, played the music, I described what ideas I had at that point, and immediately new, good ones began appearing, as the piece began to come clear.

Good discussions with the actors as well, and I'll have to be on my toes and keep up with them. I had planned one scene that took place out of the office setting where the rest of the show takes place, but had always been disturbed by leaving the setting for just the one scene - I figured it would work anyway, as the sequence is kind of a big, exciting, flashy one. I got called on that by an actor last night, who noted the structure and feel of the piece seems to demand the unity of staying in the office the whole time. And, yeah, he's right. So I have to rethink that scene. Dammit. The assembled came up with several good suggestions for that, but just starts in the right direction, no solutions.

My nerves have pretty much abated on this show - it opens way off on July 30, and in a few hours last night, I solved maybe half of the confusion in myself about what was going to happen in the "blank spaces." I also discovered I need to find two more songs to put in to make transitions work, and one other song I have in there may not work.

Now I'll see if I still have all the actors I thought I had for this show. I could do it with the ones I know I have now, but it's a bit heavy on the female side onstage right now, and that doesn't work right for this show.

25,597 tracks in the iPod - here's a Random Ten for this morning:

1. "Blue Velvet #1" - WFMU - station promos
2. "Fotomodelle" - Piero Umiliani - Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso
3. "I'm Gonna Dance All Night" - The Equals - First Among Equals - The Greatest Hits
4. "Walking Down Madison" - Kirsty MacColl - Galore
5. "Fiabla Bolero" - Franco Ferrara - Music Scene: Musica Per Radio - Televisione - Films
6. "Satellite of Love" - Lou Reed - Transformer
7. "Let's Go Away for a Mashup" - Totom - Bastard Pet Sounds
8. "Code Monkey" - Jonathan Coulton - Thing a Week Three
9. "Sequenza Psichedelica" - Piero Umiliani - Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso
10. "Crazy Sally-Ann" - Sit N' Spin - Enjoy The Ride

What th-? Real random, iPod. Two tracks from the same 60s Italian movie soundtrack? (which I think is some kind of softcore "study" of Sweden) Well, I guess that will happen on random.

And in the land of cat photos, here's Hooker and Moni curled up together last week . . .

Pile O'Kitties

And here's one from the last half-hour - Hooker has been sweetly curled up against and around my feet since I got up and got on the couch and computer, purring and making happy grunty noises and mushing his forehead into my toes. So I grabbed the camera to try and get a record of how adorable he was and can be. He stopped being adorable the moment after I took this and took a big chomp into my foot. Ow. I think you may be able to see the transition happening here from sweetness to BAD KITTY . . .

About To Chomp

Tonight, we show The Magnificent Ambersons (final 88-minute version, of course) on the big big screen at The Brick for cast members and friends who want to come by (if you're in the latter group and I neglected to email you, let me know). Tomorrow, more making stuff up on Everything Must Go. Looking good.

It Starts

Mar. 27th, 2008 12:19 pm
collisionwork: (red room)
Last night I went over to The Brick to see a bit of a rehearsal of Babylon Babylon, which I'm now designing the lights for (original designer couldn't do it).

I need to see a few more rehearsals to figure out how to make it work - I can do it with the instruments we have, sure, but I need to really buckle down on what to put where - can't be wasteful at all with instruments on this. The Brick is pretty much all opened up, with rows of seats against the walls, as Frank Cwiklik did with Bitch Macbeth in January.

Babylon Babylon in rehearsal

There's a low central platform, a big stairs/dais piece (the "holy ground") at one end (with projection screen to be bisecting it) and 16 small areas where people have a kind of "home base." Jeff tells me there's really just about 8 real areas to deal with isolating, which helps. I have 26 source-4s (two with I-Cues, two with color scrollers), with 3 others that are broken but fixable (I have the parts), 1 PAR can, two working birdies on floor stands (maybe another one or two fixable), another floor stand for the PAR or a source-4 (and I can always make more if I need them), and basically 31 dimmers (+1 for the house lights). I can make it look good, I'm sure, but I need to see how the whole show moves before I figure out how.

Babylon Babylon in rehearsal 2

23 out of the 32 listed cast members were there last night, including many friends and frequent collaborators. It'll be fun coming by to these rehearsals and seeing everyone without having to direct them or act with them for once.

So tonight is a first meeting for one of my August shows, Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2).

This show is to be "a play with and in dance," and is being built around the actors, so I don't have very much to it yet. A vague structure and setting, some visual, scenic, and choreographic ideas, and the characters I think the 13 actors will be playing -- assuming I have all 13 actors - some haven't replied or said anything to me since agreeing - sometimes vaguely - to do the show. Tonight I'm expecting 8, maybe 9 of the actors. Maybe. I'll see who shows.

I think the show will be about 75-95 minutes long, in one act, in two defined parts that take place in the advertising agency setting - either two days or one day split in half by lunch. I hope I don't lose any more actors (and I keep the one who's still checking schedule to see if she can do it).

Oh, and I have some music for this. Probably most or all of it, some may be added, some may be dropped. I like these songs basically for their sound, the way I feel movement flowing to them, and the emotional rise and fall of the action in the show as a whole as I see it - the only problem is that they are songs, with lyrics, and while the intensity and feel of the song as a whole is exactly what I'm looking for, sometimes the words are distracting, and would seem to impart meanings to the scenes they're intended for that aren't supposed to be there.

But I don't have anything better as yet for those scenes, so these songs will stay until anything better comes up (unlikely). I spent some of the morning burning CDs of the music to be able to give to the cast tonight. Here's what's on them:

1. "Anthology" - The Kay Gees
2. "Listen to the Band" - The Monkees

SHOW, part 1 (morning to afternoon, or maybe day one; I don't know yet):
3. "Jimmy Carter" - Electric Six
4. "Slug" - Passengers
5. "Down at McDonnelzz" - Electric Six
6. "Dry Bones" - The Four Lads
7. "Laughing" - Pere Ubu
8. "Transylvanian Concubine" - Rasputina
9. "Shannon Stone (mashup)" - Mark Vidler/Go Home Productions
10. "Not Yet Remembered" - Harold Budd & Brian Eno

SHOW, part 2 (afternoon to evening, or maybe day two; I don't know yet):
11. "The Coo-Coo Bird" - Clarence "Tom" Ashley
12. "Paradise Flat" - The Status Quo
13. "Maybe" - The Chantels
14. "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" - Roxy Music
15. "Uptight Maggie (mashup)" - Mark Vidler/Go Home Productions
16. "Episode of Blonde" - Elvis Costello
17. "Theme One" - George Martin
18. "Back of a Truck" - Regina Spektor

19. "Money Changes Everything" - Cyndi Lauper
20. "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" - X

I have no idea yet if this odd jumble of styles and sounds will mix in an interesting and ultimately coherent way, or simply seem scattered, disparate, and unfocused. I think it'll work the way I want it to, and unfortunately confuse some people, which I'd rather not do, but whatever. You can't make it work for everyone.

Tonight I'll play the music and watch how people move (several are trained dancers, of various styles, some are musical-theatre people with some dance, some are actors who move well, and there are a couple that I have no idea about, but they seemed to be needed in this world and I'll choreograph around however they move). Maybe set them up in patterns and see how they work visually. Think about words they look like they should be saying.

So much of me hates working this way, making it up as I go along, but I just know I have to do it this way right now.

From today until the August shows are done - 151 days - Berit and I will have a total of 27 days without a rehearsal or performance of one of our four shows - and never two days in a row except maybe between Ambersons performances in early June. And most of those 27 will be filled up with work to get the shows and space ready (as well as working on Babylon Babylon, Penny Dreadful, and The Film Festival: A Theater Festival). And then the two days after the shows are over will be spent getting The Brick spiffed up for this year's Clown Theatre Festival, followed by another 33 days straight of techs and performances for that festival (and Penny Dreadful again).

We finally get some time off September 29-October 17. Until then, we're pretty much busy every day on shows.

We're fucking nuts.


collisionwork: (Default)

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